The Range of Motion has teamed up with Forward Fitness Personal Training to offer an 8 week running & strength workshop. Coach Andy and certified Trainers Trippe and Lisa of Forward Fitness have created a workshop series that provides individual strength and running efficiency assessments with custom plans for maximum running improvement for each attendee by integrating running form with specific strength work. Class size is limited to offer individual attention while benefitting from the workshop group. The series starts on Sunday January 26th, so sign up today! To sign up, CLICK HERE.
Now that the days have shortened, it’s not just the “crazy” ultramarathoners that find themselves with the need to run before the sun comes up or after the sun sets. Running in the dark presents some fears and challenges, but nothing too daunting as long as it’s approached properly…
Know where you’re running…
When it’s light out, most roads and trails are pretty familiar since we can see everything around us and key off of landmarks as well as the usual signs and addresses. But a magical thing can happen when it gets dark out; places we’ve been many times before can look completely different! This is one of the great things about running in the dark, since the “same ol’ route” takes on new dimension and can feel like you’re exploring a new area when the lights go out. To prepare for this, make sure you know (I mean really know) where your turns are and how far you should be going during each leg of your run. I’ve run many out-and-back night runs where I “somehow” got lost on the way back because I didn’t recognize the turns, even though those same runs during the day are a no-brainer…
Yes, as I like to say, “luck favors the prepared”, and running in the dark is no exception. Have a flashlight or headlamp with you for you runs, even if the route has lights along it. Unless your early morning or night run is on a completely lit track, it pays to have a light with you. If you’re running on streets in a town, a nice small handheld flashlight (too big and it’s awkward to carry and point) or a headlamp (a running/hiking headlamp is preferred) that offers at least 50 lumens of brightness (a lumen is a measure of light output, and most modern flashlights and headlamps list this on the packaging) should work well. On a dark trail, I like to have at least 80 lumens for my lights since there’s usually few to no light sources around. More lumens can be better, but the trade off is a heavier light and less battery life – I’ve done it, and I don’t recommend being out on the trail at night when your headlamp battery dies! On that note, make sure you check your batteries before each run…
Along with lights to help you see, wearing bright and/or reflective gear is a good idea too so that others can see you, especially if you are running roads in a city. A little can go a long way, so having some reflective strips on your clothing or wearing a reflective vest or hat is usually plenty. Like the way you look in your black or dark running outfit? Save it for the daytime – it’s too easy to blend into the darkness and become part of an accident report that includes the phrase “they came out of nowhere!!!”
Run above the ground…
When running in the dark, you want to make a few adjustments to your running stride to keep you upright and avoid tripping/stepping on/running into objects and features of the road or trail that you’re on. Make sure you keep your head up, shorten your stride, and lift your knees and feet. To make that easier, I’ve adopted the idea of “running about 3 inches above the ground”. That doesn’t mean that I’m asking you to float or levitate yourself while running (though if you can do that, please let me know how!), but by focusing on the idea of running above the ground, your body and movements will adjust. Without having to remind yourself, you’ll stay more upright, have shorter strides, and lift your feet, all of which is also good for efficient running form. I love simple practices that accomplish several things at once, so run above the ground to stay safe and work on improving your running!
Ready to make 2014 your best year yet? Are you a newcomer to The Range of Motion? If so then you may want to consider this SPECIAL OFFER: Sign up by January 1st for 2 months of endurance coaching with Coach Andy Sulak and get the third month free! Read more about our training plans HERE and we look forward to hearing from you soon. Email us HERE us for a speedy response. Our roster has 77 PRs and counting and we’d love to have you board!
I had the pleasure of pacing Range of Motion athlete Peter Beck at this year’s Tahoe Rim Trail 50 miler. Every time I pace I gain new insight and my ideas of what pacing is and what it means to the runner evolves ever so slightly. So here’s a quick rundown on what I learned this time around.
ONE: Spend time with your runner prior to race day so you can get into the same headspace. I think it’s hugely beneficial to know where your runner is mentally so you’ll have a solid idea of how far and how hard you can push them. Spend a few hours the day before the race if you can and definitely be there at the start. Getting an idea of your runner’s mood and expectations will definitely help identify what buttons you can push and how often you’ll be able to do so.
TWO: Do not get caught up in the pre-race activities and neglect the fact that you have to run too. At TRT, besides hanging in a house with 8 other running friends, I also found myself extremely focused on Pete’s 50 miler when in fact I needed to stay focused on my own 20 miles of pacing too. A big part of any successful pacing duty is being able to remain razor sharp and cognitive throughout the entire assigned miles—remember to take the time and effort to get your head there. And it just so happened that this year’s event was the 2nd hottest on record so hydration concerns, fueling concerns, and most important, finishing concerns were hugely taxing so I was glad I was mentally ready.
THREE: “What’s said on the trail stays on the trail”. You should make sure that those words are written in stone upfront so all involved can feel comfortable showing sides that may only emerge at Mile 33 in high elevation under a very hot sun. Pete and I go back 32 years—so our parameters for, er, verbal exchange are wide but you should know how far to take it and know which words might end up doing more harm than good.
FOUR: Pacing is all about your runner but you should have some fun too. A positive, happy demeanor translates to your runner. I hear some folks say they prefer not to pace because the momentum is dictated by the runner but I suggest that the race actually starts when the runner gets to the pacer and the real fun commences then. It’s about finishing strong regardless of pace.
FIVE: Hope for some of the worst to happen so you can leverage that to point out the good things. “It’s soooo much easier to run when you’re not puking peanut butter and jelly!” “I know we love direct sun light and heat, but lets take advantage of this shade!” “This big hill means better views!” You get the picture.
SIX: This is more of a pet peeve than anything else, but the finishing photo op is the runner’s not the pacer’s. If you’re lucky enough to get your runner to the finish, let your runner finish the last 50 plus yards by themselves so they can bask in the glory of a few documenting camera shots.
Pacing is not for everyone but if you’re interested in seeing a race as an intimate outsider that’ll give you some insightful ideas that will contribute to making you a better racer, then I definitely encourage giving pacing a shot. Personally it’s helped me learn more about metering energy, aid station efficiency, race strategy, mental toughness, and how team work is a great energizer and motivator. And most of all, there is a bonding with your runner that will last a life time.
CLICK THE LINK FOR VIEWING: CLICK HERE for The Brazen Racing Dirty Dozen July 6th 2013 Photo Gallery
Thanks to Coach Andy for the photos!